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Review by kio -- The Big Exoneration by Dennis Sanchez

This forum is for volunteer reviews by members of our review team. These reviews are done voluntarily by the reviewers and are published in this forum, separate from the official professional reviews. These reviews are kept separate primarily because the same book may be reviewed by many different reviewers.

Review by kio -- The Big Exoneration by Dennis Sanchez

Post Number:#1 by kio
» 23 Jun 2016, 15:19

[Following is the official review of "The Big Exoneration" by Dennis Sanchez.]

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4 out of 4 stars
Review by kio
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Adventure, time travel, justice, mob bosses, murder, crime framing, and private investigation are but a few of the themes in Dennis Sanchez’ The Big Exoneration.

When Jake and his sister, Darlene move to Los Angeles, their summer looks like it’s going to be boring. Until Jake discovers a Skeleton Key that opens a mysterious door labeled, “Arche Wolfe, Private Detective, Criminal and Civil Investigation, 533.” All the adults in the building claim that the door has no key and is nothing but a storage room. When Jake and Darlene go through it, however, they’re transported back in time to the 1930’s.

On June 18th, 1939. Archer Wolfe was executed for a murder he didn’t commit and now his spirit is stuck in a photo frame. He has no idea why he was framed, but he has a good idea who did it. His only clue is the three “lugs,” Lefty, Innocent, and Little Pike, who claim they saw Archer pull the trigger. It’s up to Jake and Darlene to follow the clues and solve the case before July 4th (the day he was buried). If they don’t, Archer will be stuck in the frame forever. Will they succeed? Who framed Archer? Why are Jake and Darlene the only ones who can see the door?

This intense read grabbed me hook, line, and sinker. The plot was well developed, engaging, and had a smooth flow to it. The mix of modern and historical elements worked well with the plot line. I thought the 30’s slang would throw me off, but it blended well with the dialogue and the author did a great job of implementing slang explanations into the story without overpowering it.

The author’s writing style is smooth and had an even pace to it. The writing is realistically done for Ages 8 to 12 and the text is reading level-appropriate

The characters were the best part of the book. Their unique and charismatic personalities brought the book to life. The character dynamics were spot on, realistic, and entertaining. I like that the parents are likable and realistic. It is also a nice touch to have a few ghosts in the book.

My favorite part is how the 1930’s only existed under certain conditions (window open and skeleton key door open). Although a little hard to grasp for an adult mind, it’s the perfect, simple explanation for the reader age group.

Overall, I’d rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. A perfect blend of contemporary fiction and time travel, reluctant readers will appreciate this high-stake mystery adventure. With characters that are easy to believe and enjoy, this is a must-read for anyone who has ever wanted to be a detective, solve their own mystery, or go back in time.

The Big Exoneration
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